Don’t confuse Greek fava with fava beans (Vicia Faba) although “vicia” and “vetches” are classified in the same genus. Greek fava (lathyrus clymenum), looks like yellow split peas, but is much tastier and is produced in various parts of Greece. The most popular one is the one produced on Santorini Island, because of the volcanic soil and the climate of the island, which doesn’t need much water to grow.
“The very low glycemic index of legumes, abundant in slowly digested starches, helps keep the blood glucose at low levels, and equally, the ensuing pancreatic insulin response. Legumes are low in fat and high in protein. They are also good sources of flavonoids, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and are full of cardio-protective nutrients such as arginine, Vitamin E, the B vitamins including folic acid, and minerals such as calcium and zinc.
For people with intestinal problems, we recommend dried beans, lentils and split peas, but soaked for at least 10-12 hours prior to cooking, and the water discarded since it now contains also indigestible sugars. Legumes can be eaten in small amounts by such patients. We recommend legumes 2-3 times a week combined with fresh salad, or with small amount of dairy products and cooked fresh vegetables.”
The most common dish made with fava in Greece, is a kind of pudding served as an appetizer, with the same name: Fava is boiled with a finely chopped onion until the water evaporates and it becomes soft and falls apart. When it is ready, olive oil, salt and pepper is added and continues to be cooked for five more minutes. It is served with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and finely chopped onion and parsley on top.
Fava pantremeni (which means married), is similar to the Cypriot lentil dish Moudjentra with the addition of fried onions. A similar dish is also made in Cyprus with louvana (Lathyrus Ochrus) also known as Cyprus vetch. However, in the Greek dish, fava is “married / combined” with the fried onions and two more products which Santorini is famous for, which are capers and tomatoes are added to the onions and sauteed together. Half of this mixture is mixed in the boiled fava and the remaining is served on top of the dish. Instead of posting this dish, below you can find two new recipes of mine with twists on this classic recipe.
The first dish is a soup. Although the weather is much better now, yet we don’t mind still eating some soups especially because of my husband’s gallbladder diet.
This recipe was first made during December but since soups are good for the gallbladder and since I had some roasted pumpkin in the deep freezer, I made it again a few days ago. The only thing I changed was to add less olive oil (about 1/8th cup) and of course no chicken stock. During the winter, we also added some pasto (smoked pork) in the soup and it was delicious. It goes without saying that this was not added the second time, but I can assure you that still it was a very delicious soup.
This soup is vegan as it is not necessary to add the chicken stock or the smoked pork. If you cannot find Greek fava, you can make this soup and the dip with other grain legumes such as Lathyrus sativus or the yellow split peas (Pissum Sativum). In Cyprus you can make it with louvana.
Note: In Cyprus, the fresh leaves of the vetch are made into a salad, which is called louvanosalata.
Soupa Favas me Glykokolokytha (Greek Fava Soup with Pumpkin), recipe by Ivy
2 liters of chicken stock (or water with 1 bio chicken cube), optional
2 bay leaves
1 large potato, cut into cubes
1 – 2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 cup pumpkin puree
Salt and freshly grated black pepper
Extra olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to serve
Pasto, cut into small pieces (optional)
Soak the pulses from the previous evening or early morning, for at least 5 to 6 hours, as per instructions on the packet. Put them in a colander and rinse well.
Put them in a pot with water to cover them and bring to a boil. Lower heat and skim well. Drain again.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a little salt and pepper until translucent.
Put the pulses in the pot, stirring well to cover everywhere with oil. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery, bay leaves and chicken broth (or water with cube).
Bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat and simmer for about 1 – 1 ½ hours until the pulses are soft. More water may be needed.
Meanwhile roast the pumpkin and puree in the food processor (or if it has been frozen, thaw). Put the soup in the food processor and mash. Add the pumpkin and stir.
Boil together for 5 to 6 minutes, turn off the heat and add a little raw olive oil and stir.
Add a few pieces of pasto and serve the soup with freshly ground pepper on top.
I had some leftover soup, so the next day I drained all the liquid and used it as a base to make a Fava dip. I always work with ingredients I have at home and feta is always in my fridge and since I had roasted red peppers, I decided to combine them based on my Scarlet Pesto with Piperies Florinis recipe.
Fava with Roasted Red Pepper, Feta and Smoked Paprika Dip, recipe by Ivy